U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi left Taiwan on Wednesday after a visit that increased tensions with China.
In a meeting with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, Pelosi said: “America’s determination to preserve democracy, here in Taiwan and around the world, remains ironclad.” And she added, "Our delegation came to Taiwan to make unequivocally clear that we will not abandon Taiwan.”
China, which claims Taiwan as its territory, has repeatedly warned the U.S. lawmaker not to visit the island. The foreign ministry said Pelosi's visit "has a severe impact on the political foundation of China-U.S. relations” and seriously damages peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.
Shortly after Pelosi's arrival, China's military announced air and sea military exercises around Taiwan, parts of which will enter Taiwanese waters. Chinese state news agency Xinhua said the exercises and tests will be carried out from Thursday to Sunday.
Captain Jian-chang Yu, a Taiwanese defense official said, “Such an act equals to sealing off Taiwan by air and sea, such an act covers our country’s territory and territorial waters, and severely violates our country’s territorial sovereignty.”
The Chinese military exercises, including live fire, are to be the largest aimed at Taiwan since 1995. At that time, China fired several missiles to show its displeasure with a visit by then-Taiwanese President Lee Teng-hui to the U.S.
Arthur Zhin-Sheng Wang is a defense studies expert at Taiwan’s Central Police University. He said using live fire in a country’s territorial airspace or waters is risky. He added that under “international rules of engagement, this can possibly be seen as an act of war.”
The administration of U.S. President Joe Biden has sought to lower tensions from Pelosi’s visit, saying there is no change in America’s longstanding “one-China policy.” Under the policy, the U.S. recognizes the Chinese government in Beijing but keeps informal relations and defense ties with Taipei.
In Washington, John Kirby, spokesperson for the National Security Council, said that the U.S. was expecting more military exercises and other actions from China in the coming days. But he told ABC’s Good Morning America, “we don’t believe we’re at the brink now, and there’s certainly no reason for anybody to be talking about being at the brink going forward.” In other words, he does not believe there will be a conflict in the area.
On Wednesday, China also banned some imports from Taiwan, including fruits and fish. But it has not stopped the flow of computer chips and other industrial parts required for its manufacturing economy.
Taiwan produces half the world’s computer processor chips and has technology the mainland cannot match. Its sales to Chinese factories rose 24.4 percent to $104.3 billion last year.
I’m Jill Robbins.
Hai Do adapted this report for VOA Learning English based on reporting from Reuters and The Associated Press.
Words in This Story
abandon –n. to stop supporting or helping
impact –n. an effect or result of some action
stability –n. a state or quality of little change
seal –v. to prevent someone from going into or out of a place
sovereignty –n. a country's independent power and the right to govern itself
brink –n. the edge of a steep cliff; a point very close to something very bad
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